Player Perspective: Jacob Burke (Norwich University) On Saturday’s Game Against Coast Guard Academy

Jacob Burke

Jacob Burke (45) and the Norwich University football team look to continue their winning ways on Saturday against Coast Guard Academy. (PHOTO COURTESY: Norwich University Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

Saturday will be an exciting day at Norwich University.

The campus will be celebrating the institution’s 200th anniversary and will host Coast Guard Academy in a must-see, must-watch New England Division III football game, which is scheduled to commence at 2:00 p.m. (eastern time).

Both Coast Guard Academy and Norwich enter Saturday’s clash with identical 2-0 records and know a win would keep them atop the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) standings, as well as possibly tied with WPI, which also enters the third week with the same record.

One of the players that certainly hopes to continue the Cadets’ recent momentum is Jacob Burke. The senior linebacker, who has tallied 14 total tackles this fall, is hoping to help the Cadets snap a two-game losing streak to the Bears since the rivalry resumed in 2017.

Noontime Sports caught-up with Burke to discuss Saturday’s game against the Bears, as well as what he enjoys most about being a part of this rivalry.

What makes this game (and rivalry) so special and unique from your perspective?  

This game (and) rivalry are extremely special and unique because it is steeped in tradition. This year is especially important for a number of reasons.

This year, both teams are 2-0 and have a chance to start the season 3-0 and move into first place in the conference.

2019 marks Norwich’s Bicentennial and it is a privilege to be able to be a part of this game during homecoming (and) alumni weekend.

The winner of Norwich-Coast Guard also is awarded ‘The Mug,’ too, which is arguably the most important trophy to win throughout the season.

Finally, this is not just any college football game. This rivalry is known as the ‘Little Army-Navy Game’ and the name speaks for itself.  The singing of each team’s alma mater after the game concludes is the culmination of a very special college football Saturday.

This game is second to none and it is an honor to be involved with such a storied tradition.

What are a few memories you have from playing in this contest? 

My two most influential memories about this game include the excitement and anticipation during the week of this game last year. The week was more intense, and the entire program was more focused. The same can be said for this year, too.

My second memory of this game was losing on the final play to the Bears last year. That is a feeling you never want to repeat and that is exactly what our program promised each other.

What is the build-up to this game like on campus? Do people talk about this game outside the practice field?  

The build-up to this game is always exciting. Considering it is (our) alumni/homecoming weekend, the campus is quickly filling up and the buzz around the school is extremely high. Professors and peers are (also) there to support the team, too.

When preparing for this contest, does it have a different feel than other weeks of the season? 

We prepare for this week just like any other week. However, everyone in the program understands just how important this game is and how much this rivalry means so this week is more intense.

The team remains really focused despite all the distractions which allow us to prepare well.

What must your team do to be successful/score a win on Saturday? 

We must play together and stick together throughout the game. We must limit mistakes and be ready to adjust on the fly while still being able to play fast and tough. We can’t beat ourselves.

What do you imagine this year’s game day atmosphere to be like? Do you anticipate a big crowd? 

The game-day atmosphere is going to be awesome. The school expects a huge crowd so extra seating has been placed around Sabine Field. The entire team is looking forward to a crazy and loud atmosphere on Saturday.

D3 Football: Coast Guard Academy Prepares To Contend For ‘The Mug’

#32 MARK WICKE

Coast Guard Academy senior Mark Wicke (32) is ready to lead the Bears into Saturday’s contest against Norwich University. (PHOTO COURTESY: Coast Guard Academy Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

For Coast Guard Academy, Saturday’s meeting with Norwich University is not just a typical football game. It is a rivalry game that has been played 73 times with the Bears winning 40 meetings.

Coast Guard won last year’s meeting with the Cadets, thanks to a late three-yard touchdown run by quarterback Ryan Jones that provided the hosts with their second-straight win, as well as a third consecutive victory against Norwich dating back to 2005.

Both Coast Guard and Norwich enter Saturday’s must-see (and must-watch) clash with identical 2-0 records. Coast Guard has scored wins thus far over Nichols College (24-23 OT) and University of New England (27-17), while Norwich has beaten Salve Regina (22-19) and St. Lawrence University (30-24).

Norwich’s most recent win against the Saints last Saturday provided the Cadets with their first ‘Hoffman Cup,’ a trophy that St. Lawrence and Merchant Marine previously competed for when the two teams met regularly on the gridiron.

The winner of Saturday’s contest will remain in first place in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) – it’s possible Coast Guard Academy or Norwich could be tied for first with WPI, which looks to extend its current unbeaten streak against Husson University.

In anticipation of Saturday’s must-see (and must-watch) contest between two local rivalries, we caught up with the Coast Guard Academy captains, Scott Pierce, R.J. Robiskie, and Mark Wicke to learn more about this match-up, but also how they and the team are preparing to contend for ‘The Mug.’


RJROB

Coast Guard Academy senior R.J. Robiskie enters Saturday’s contest with 15.0 total tackles through two games, including 2.5 sacks for a loss of 14 yards. (PHOTO COURTESY: Coast Guard Academy Athletics)

What makes this game/rivalry so special and unique from your perspective?  

Scott Pierce: “It’s the intensity of this game in particular that makes it unique. It’s always a packed stadium, everyone tends to play a little harder, and raising that mug up at the end makes it feel more special.”

R.J. Robiskie: “I think what makes this rivalry so great is that you are playing for something more than just football. You are playing for that mug and the alumni that came before you whom you would like to make proud and remember their good days when they battled Norwich.

“And of course, the fact that it was titled the ‘Little Army-Navy Game’ adds a little bit more hype to it, as well.”

Mark Wicke: “The longstanding traditions of each program paired with the excitement surrounding a game involving two service academies make this game special.”

What are a few memories you have from playing in this contest?  

Robiskie: “This will be my third time playing the Cadets. We are currently 2-0 against them (since I joined the Bears’ program), but my favorite memory was my sophomore year when we went up to Norwich and played on a day that was 95 degrees. It was an absolute dogfight.  My favorite play was when my roommate, Kane Alletzhauser, ran about 80 yards down the field and made a touchdown-saving tackle and then we went on to hold them to a field goal and beat Norwich 13-9.

Wicke: “My favorite memory from this game came two years ago when Kane Alletzhauser saved the game for us by stopping (one of their) wide receivers at the two-yard line. He chased the Norwich wide-out down the field.”

What is the build-up to this game like on campus? Do people talk about this game outside the practice field?  

Pierce: “I think this game is talked about more by (our) alumni rather than the current cadets only because the rivalry returned in 2017. This game brings out great stories from the past and it makes the game mean more.”

Robiskie: “The build-up at the academy is real. Our Admiral is excited for us to go up and compete and a lot of cadets understand the magnitude of this game while playing for that mug to come back to New London for the third year in a row.

Wicke: “There is a different energy that surrounds these rivalry games. We are excited to play in front of their crowd.”

CGA2

Coast Guard Academy senior Scott Pierce and the Bears offense have 25.5 points per game through two contests this season. (PHOTO COURTESY: Coast Guard Academy Athletics)

When preparing for this contest, does it have a different feel than other weeks of the season? 

Pierce: “Definitely. Norwich is a great team and we know it’s going to (most likely) come down to the fourth quarter. To get your mind and body ready for that makes it more challenging than other weeks.”

Robiskie: “I think to prepare for this (opponent) is almost like preparing for Merchant Marine. You must completely buy into this week because this is no easy task in which we are about to face. We must bring our A-game if we want to win.

Wicke: “No, it is just another week of preparation. We do our best to approach this week as we would any other (week of the season).”

What must your team do to be successful to score a win on Saturday? 

Pierce: “I would say this game is going to come down to turnovers. It’s always a tight game and every possession matters. We also have stay composed and not let the crowd get to us.”

Robiskie: “We need to mentally and physically prepare (ourselves) and have one of the best weeks of practice we are going to have all year. Then the rest will fall into place.”

Wicke: “We have to correct the mistakes we made against UNE and Nichols. If we remain focused on playing our best football then winning will take care of itself.”

What do you imagine this year’s game day atmosphere to be like? Do you anticipate a big crowd?

Robiskie: “I imagine this year’s crowd and atmosphere will be like (my) sophomore year when we played them. I imagine it to be hostile and absolute chaos. It is their 200th anniversary so they will have alumni and a bunch of people (in attendance) but what can be better than playing football on a Saturday against your rival in a hostile environment and coming away with a win?”

Wicke: “I imagine the game day environment to be loud and packed- the type of atmosphere you’d expect for a game between two long-standing rivals.”

D3 Football: 10 Games To Watch (Week Three)

D3WK3GMS TO WATCH

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

Welcome to the third week of the New England Division III football season – are you ready for kick-off?

Before another busy weekend of games begins, it is time to dish out some picks – we need to improve our prediction record as we enter the third week 6-14 in weekly predictions.

Let’s see if we can go 10-for-10 this week – we have high hopes!

Have a great weekend, everyone, and remember to stay connected with @Noontime_FB on Twitter for in-game updates, scores and more.


New England D-III Football | Games to Watch (Week Three)

Rankings for teams are from this week’s Noontime Sports Top 20

No. 11 MIT at Becker College (Friday, Sept. 20th): The Engineers were idle last week but should be ready to combat the Hawks’ rushing attack on Friday evening. PREDICTION: MIT 17, Becker 10

No. 2 WPI at No. 9 Husson University (Saturday, Sept. 21st): The Engineers gained some much-needed momentum heading into their final non-conference clash of the season with a hard-fought 6-3 win last week over RPI. PREDICTION: WPI 24, Husson 21 

Wesley College at No. 3 Endicott College (Saturday, Sept. 21st): The Gulls face their toughest test of the season on Saturday against a very talented Wesley squad, which needed overtime to beat Delaware Valley last Saturday. PREDICTION: Wesley 42, Endicott 23

Bowdoin College at No. 5 Trinity College (Saturday, Sept. 21st): Can the Polar Bears pull the upset? Maybe, but we think the Bantams will find a way to score their first win of the season, but it certainly won’t be easy. PREDICTION: Trinity 32, Bowdoin 24  

No. 8 Western Connecticut at Bridgewater State (Saturday, Sept. 21st): This is a must-win for the Bears, who have lost back-to-back non-conference games. Western Connecticut will arrive at the campus with some momentum from a solid win one week ago against Dean College. PREDICTION: Western Conn. 28, Bridgewater State 21 

No. 15 Middlebury College at Bates College (Saturday, Sept. 21st): This game was an instant classic one year ago – the Panthers edged the Bobcats, 35-34. Middlebury enters Saturday’s meeting with some momentum after beating Williams College last Saturday. Bates is seeking its first win under second-year coach Malik HallPREDICTION: Middlebury 20, Bates 13 

No. 7 Coast Guard Academy at No. 10 Norwich University (Saturday, Sept. 21st): Norwich quarterback Matt Dunn and the Cadets offense have been fun to watch this season. The air attack will be on display again Saturday in a battle of 2-0 squads, which should help the Cadets top Coast Guard Academy in the battle for ‘The Mug.’ PREDICTION: Norwich 28, Coast Guard 18

Fitchburg State at No. 13 UMass Dartmouth (Saturday, Sept. 21st): The Corsairs enter week three with a ton of momentum from the first two weeks. UMass Dartmouth’s offense has been explosive in their last two games and should continue its success through the air for the third-straight week. PREDICTION: UMass Dartmouth 29, Fitchburg State 14 

Castleton Univesity at University of New England (Saturday, Sept. 21st): Brian Peters and the Nor’easters offense will be ready to combat a talented Spartans defense to secure their second win of the 2019 season. PREDICTION: UNE 28, Castleton 17 

No. 19 Salve Regina at Dean College (Saturday, Sept. 21st): Both teams are desperate to crack the win column, so this is what we would call a must-win for both Dean and Salve. The Seahawks have a slight edge entering this contest, but they must control the time of possession and find a way to slow down Dean’s dynamic duo, Julian Burris and Errol BreauxPREDICTION: Salve 20, Dean 16 

Mass. High Schools: Games to Watch In Week Three (Sept. 19-21st)

GAMES TO WATCH HS WK3 2019

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

Week three of the Massachusetts high school football season resumes today with Old Colony facing Keefe Tech which means its time to unveil our weekly games to watch and predictions, too.

Let’s see how we do this week – we have struggled the past few weeks with picks, but we think we have some good selections for today, tomorrow and Saturday!


Mass. High Schools: Games to Watch | Week Three

Old Colony at Keefe Tech (Thursday, Sept. 19th): The Cougars took care of business last week, defeating Avon-Holbrook 41-6 in their season-opener. Look for their week two effort to continue against Keefe Tech in Framingham. PREDICTION: Old Colony 28, Keefe Tech 17 

Newton North at Needham (Friday, Sept. 20th): This is a must-win for the Rockets, which have dropped back-to-back games against Natick and Tewksbury. Newton North’s Andrew Landry enjoyed a successful to start to his final season with the Tigers by tallying five touchdowns in a 33-0 win over Waltham last Saturday. PREDICTION: Newton North 30, Needham 14 

Latin Academy at Boston Latin (Friday, Sept. 20th): The Wolfpack are seeking their first win of the 2019 season, while the Dragons of Latin Academy enter Friday’s tilt with some momentum following a 16-14 win last week over Tech Boston. LA’s Robert Marek will be a player to watch in this game. PREDICTION: Latin Academy 21, Boston Latin 14 

Lynnfield at Medford (Friday, Sept. 20th): The Pioneers enjoyed a successful start to their 2019 season with a 43-7 win over Newburyport. Look for that momentum to continue against the Mustangs in Medford. PREDICTION: Lynnfield 30, Medford 10 

Millis at Lowell Catholic (Friday, Sept. 20th): Lowell Catholic enters week three as winners in their last two contests. They should continue that trend on Friday – look for a big game from Ryan PenrosePREDICTION: Lowell Catholic 21, Millis 10 

Watertown at Cambridge (Friday, Sept. 20th): The Raiders scored multiple points in the first half last week, while their defense provided a slew of challenges for the Arlington Catholic offense. Watertown will need both its offense and defense to duplicate its performance from last week against a Cambridge team that is averaging 32.5 points per game. PREDICTION: Watertown 30, Cambridge 22 

Malden at Somerville (Friday, Sept. 20th): Greater Boston League (GBL) play begins in Somerville on Friday – this is a tough matchup for a Golden Tornadoes squad that will tasked with finding ways to slow down Jamir Vernet and Louis MontinaPREDICTION: Somerville 32, Malden 10 

Lynn Classical at Danvers (Friday, Sept. 20th): The Falcons return to the gridiron after starting their season with 41-20 victory over Masconomet. Lynn Classical has faced some real challenges during the past two weeks and is eager to finally crack the win column. PREDICTION: Lynn Classical 35, Danvers 32 

North Quincy at Westwood (Friday, Sept. 20th): Jake Pfaff and the Wolverines used a total team effort to beat Medway last week. Look for Pfaff and company to continue last week’s success against North Quincy on Friday evening. PREDICTION: Westwood 28, North Quincy 13 

Walpole at Wellesley (Saturday, Sept. 21st): The Rebels look to bounce back from a 31-7 setback to Natick last week, while Wellesley looks to continue its early-season momentum. The Raiders’ defense has yielded 6.5 points through two contests. PREDICTION: Wellesley 22, Walpole 20

Lexington at Concord-Carlisle (Saturday, Sept. 21st): The Patriots’ special teams seemed to be the difference a week against Oliver Ames. Will they need that unit again against the Minutemen? PREDICTION: C-C 28, Lexington 21 

Medway at Norwood (Saturday, Sept. 21st): Look for Norwood to deliver first-year coach Manny Lopes his first win with the Mustangs. PREDICTION: Norwood 28, Medway 14 

Player Perspective: Matt Long (Mass. Maritime Academy)

Matt Long WBE

Massachusetts Maritime Academy senior Matt Long enjoyed a successful debut under center last week for the Buccaneers. (PHOTO COURTESY: Justin Reidy Photography)

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

For the past three seasons, Matt Long has been tasked with carrying the ball for the Massachusetts Maritime Academy football team.

But against Maritime (N.Y.) last Friday evening, the Weymouth, Massachusetts native was asked to throw the ball, too, which is something he hasn’t done since he was a senior in high school.

Long completed 7 of 11 passes for 114 yards – his longest heave was a 52-yard pass to classmate Will Bennett – while adding 141 yards on 16 carries for three touchdowns as the Buccaneers defeated the Privateers, 31-14, to claim the Chowder Cup trophy for the first time since 2016.

The seven completions were the most Long has recorded as a quarterback for the Buccaneers – he did throw four passes last fall – while the three touchdowns were the most he has recorded in a single game since he was a senior in high school.

Noontime Sports spoke with Long about his team’s first win and what they must do this weekend against Maine Maritime Academy. Long was one of four Buccaneers named to our week two ‘team of the week.’

Your team captured the Chowder Cup for the first time since 2016. How does an opening day win like this help the team moving forward?

I think an opening day win (will) help us tremendously moving forward. (The victory) showed off the hard work we put in every week (throughout the preseason and practices), and if we continue our current (hard-working) mentality than we can be very successful in upcoming games.

You were very successful with rushing the football against Maritime (N.Y.). It sounds cliché, but what worked for you? 

The offensive game plan (seemed to be) clicking. The offensive line did a great job in the run and pass game which created holes for the whoever had the ball. (The o-line) gave me plenty of time to throw the ball, too. The receivers worked hard to get open and give us a chance to move the ball downfield, which helped with opening up the run game even more.

When was the last time you scored three touchdowns in a game? 

I haven’t scored three times in a game since my senior year at Weymouth High School (Mass.).

You were a halfback for the Buccaneers the past few seasons so was it a difficult transition going from running back to the quarterback position? 

It was difficult getting used to (being a) quarterback again. I played quarterback in high school, and we ran a similar (style) offense (like we do with the Buccaneers) so it made it easier with re-learning the playbook.

I know it is early, but being one of 17 seniors on this squad, how do you hope this season plays out? I presume competing for a conference championship, right? 

A championship is always the end goal but it’s important to us to keep the focus on our upcoming opponent. We need to continue to put the work into our daily practices so we can get the results we want on Saturdays.

Your team heads to Maine Maritime on Saturday for the Admiral’s Cup. What must your team do to be successful for a second-straight week? 

We need to put in the effort and work, (both today and the rest of this week) to help us prepare for the game. We need to practice good habits and technique, transfer it over to our (gameplan) and keep (our current) momentum going.

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